Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Feb 2012 23:11 UTC
Linux Linus Torvalds on requiring the root password for mundane tasks. "So here's a plea: if you have anything to do with security in a distro, and think that my kids (replace 'my kids' with 'sales people on the road' if you think your main customers are businesses) need to have the root password to access some wireless network, or to be able to print out a paper, or to change the date-and-time settings, please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place." Yes, it's harsh (deal with it, Finns don't beat around the bush), but he's completely and utterly right. While there's cases where it makes sense to disable certain settings (public terminals, for instance), it is utterly idiotic that regular home users have to type in their root password for such mundane tasks.
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Adding a printer

There's no reason this should require me to give my password or the root password if I have already done so at least once in this session. A UAC like popup prompt would be enough and perhaps that should only be done if a driver install is needed.

Attaching to a new wireless network

This doesn't require root privileges on any recent distro I have used so I don't know if/why OpenSUSE does. Maybe it's a Yast thing or something.
There's no real security benefit to requiring the root password for this.

Changing system time

See adding a printer.

Note that we're talking about *personal* workstations and laptops here, not corporate ones or thin clients or servers.

Edited 2012-03-01 11:25 UTC

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